Five Ways to Nurture Your Creativity, by Vicki Kiere
We’ve all been there, sitting in front of our computers, staring at a blinking cursor, hoping that this time we can push past the anxiety and uncertainty and just manage to put down some words on a page. Creativity can be a fickle beast, and even the best of us have struggled with writing at some point. Here are just a few suggestions that can help productive creativity become more of a habit than an exception.
Have a designated writing space
If it’s at all possible, fix yourself a spot that’s just for writing. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy- a converted spare closet can work, or a particular out-of-the-way easy chair. My favorite and most prolific writing spot used to be in an old, converted garden shed. The important thing is that you have a space that’s just for creating. This becomes a distraction-free zone. Your brain will eventually clue in to the fact that no, you are not going to flip on the TV while you are in this space, and it will become easier to ignore distractions. (Of course, in order for this to actually work, you have to resist flipping on that television in the first place.)
Try some writing exercises
Writing exercises can be like stretching before actual exercise- they can limber you up, and get the creative juices flowing. You could try something specific to your manuscript in progress, like perhaps doing a bit of journaling from one of your character’s point of view. Or you can try something wholly different- I am fond of what I call “invention” exercises, which are comprised of things like freewriting and brainstorming. During an “invention” exercise, you set a timer for a manageable chunk of time. Say, five minutes. Then you freewrite on a topic until that time is up. Even if nothing useful emerges from this session, you have at least gotten your creative juices stirring, which should make it easier to focus on the task at hand- namely, writing.
Write in the morning
Studies show that the brain is much more receptive first thing in the morning. You have fewer distractions, and don’t have the weight of an entire stressful day on your back. This, in turn, may make it easier to focus on what you really want to write. Even if you’re not a morning person, try tanking up on caffeine and hitting the keys early for a change- you might be surprised at how easily the words flow when the day is fresh, and there are fewer distractions.
Take a power nap
Okay, maybe you just absolutely, positively cannot do mornings. Why not fake out your body with a power nap? Studies show that even as much as twenty minutes spent napping can provide stress relief. It’s almost like hitting “reset” on your day. Just take a few minutes to grab some shut-eye in a dark, quiet place. And when you wake up, your mind will be in that receptive state that mimics early rising. It should be easier to face the stress of the blank page with a little sleep under your belt.
Let go of expectations
This goes for your own expectations, as well as other people. Perhaps you’ve set lofty marketing goals for the novel you’re currently working on. Maybe you want to sell x numbers of copies, or have y number of reviewers read your novel. But there should be some kind of line between writing time and marketing time. It can be too easy for your brain to latch on to plotting your next marketing strategy, rather than plotting your novel. Goals are good, but you can’t let them paralyze you into inactivity. So do your best to keep the business side of writing out of the creative side, at least until you manage to hammer out those words on a page. This is doubly true for other people’s expectations. You have no control over what others think or do. You can only control yourself and your own actions. So if someone in your life isn’t supportive of your writing, or thinks you should be writing something better, or other, or more, then do your best to just ignore them. Remind yourself that your writing is just that- YOUR writing- and to let others dictate what or how your write, or why, is to give up an enormous amount of personal and creative freedom.
Vicki Keire grew up in a 19th Century haunted house in the Deep South full of books, abandoned coal chutes, and plenty of places to get into trouble with her siblings. She spent the last decade teaching writing and literature at a large, football-obsessed university while slipping paranormal fiction in between the pages of her textbooks.
Published works include the bestselling Angel’s Edge series, which includes Gifts of the Blood, Darkness in the Blood, and Blood Redemption, The Chronicles of Nowhere series, and the stand-alone novel Daughter of Glass. She is included in the Dark Tomorrows anthology with J.L. Bryan and Amanda Hocking, and the Primetime anthology with J.R. Rain and Anita Exley.
When not reading and writing about all things paranormal, she enjoys other people’s cooking and keeps vampire hours. She’d rather burn the laundry than fold it, and believes that when an author wins the Newberry, he or she gets a secret lifetime pass to Neverland. She is fond of lost causes and loud music. She currently resides in Central Florida on a lake-front farm full of many furry friends. She loves hearing from readers and can be reached on most social media sites or through her blog (link: http://www.vickikeire.blogspot.com/), of which she is awfully fond.